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  • Avoiding financial stress in the workplace

    Is financial stress causing you problems in the workplace?

    Keeping your credit card score in good standing can limit your financial stress.If so, don't feel like you are breaking the mold. Financial well-being is a growing problem for many American workers, according to a recent survey from FinFit, a provider of financial wellness solutions.
    FinFit polled business owners and professionals for their perspective on the financial obstacles faced by employees at their companies, and most importantly, the effect that tight finances has on a worker's productivity.

    The survey, which used responses from 250 business owners and executives at companies with 200-500 employees across the U.S., found that 71 percent of respondents said a lethargic economy has spurred a significant number of employees at their companies to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Additionally, 86 percent of respondents claimed financial stress spurred decreased productivity, absenteeism and increased distraction in the past year.

    David Kilby, president of FinFit, believes that more employers need to take additional steps to reduce some of the financial pressures that burden employees.

    "Even if you're making a decent salary, it is difficult to concentrate on work when you're worrying about how to pay this month's bills, or to find the money to cover a health emergency, a necessary car repair so you can travel to work or an educational expense for a child," he said. "We are seeing more employers recognizing that this is a real issue and as a result, starting to think about possible solutions."

    By the numbers
    Nearly four of five respondents claimed their companies do not currently provide any form of lending program to assist their workforce when they run into a financial burdens or emergencies. Approximately 50 percent think that a program offering financial education and support in the workplace would help employees be more productive.

    To boot, 69 percent of respondents said they believe employees at their companies would like to participate in a program that would help them pay for healthcare coverage premiums, deductibles and co-payments if that was provided. The top reason respondents believe companies should provide loans to its employees was emergency health care costs, as 79 percent cited crisis hospital bills as a reason to offer loans.

    Get away from financial burden

    According to Forbes contributor Nancy Anderson, the first step to improving your financial well-being involves a tourniquet.

    "The first thing you need to do to get out of debt is stop the bleeding," Anderson said. "Many people still use credit cards and still try to take out loans."

    Anderson urged Americans to limit - or stop altogether - their credit card usage for a few months. She said during this time, regularly pay off the minimums to get an idea of how you'll be able to live within your means. Once you've gotten a grasp of your means, starting paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate. If you have multiple cards, go down the to the second highest rate.

    She said that if you have any money still available after paying off all your debt, try to start an emergency fund, which can help you from piling on credit card bills again if an unforeseen event is to strike.

    Keep your credit score in check
    The next step is to check out your credit score. Anderson said you can go to AnnualCreditReport.com for a free credit report from the three major bureaus.

    "Look for errors that may be dragging down your credit score," she said. "There may be something that doesn't belong to you or something that's been settled and should be removed."

    If you can't spot any errors, the best way to improve your score is by limiting your credit usage to 30 percent of the available credit and paying off your payments on time.